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LETTER
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 167-168

Modern and postmodern medicine


Worcester Royal Eye Unit, Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester, United Kingdom

Date of Web Publication21-Jun-2013

Correspondence Address:
J S Gandhi
Worcester Royal Eye Unit, Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.113828

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How to cite this article:
Gandhi J S. Modern and postmodern medicine. J Postgrad Med 2013;59:167-8

How to cite this URL:
Gandhi J S. Modern and postmodern medicine. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2013 [cited 2019 Jun 20];59:167-8. Available from: http://www.jpgmonline.com/text.asp?2013/59/2/167/113828


Dear Editor,

A recent discourse on the entirety of 'modern medicine' balances short of equipoise. [1] Kothari and Mehta see modern medicine one-sidedly as a wasteland of scientific thought. One of their laments is the vagueness which suffuses through much of modern medicine. Inside curlicues of philosophy, the authors ponder how medicine does not imbue the study of commonplace ailments with a spruceness of concept. However, the converse may be said to exist - for modernized medicine brims with more definitions than are assimilable in a working lifespan.

A fleeting survey of hypertension shows that its study was replete with definitions as long ago as the midst of the last century. Nevertheless, modernized medicine seldom offers the conceptual convenience that is idealized by Kothari and Mehta. Inexactitude signifies both complexity and the limits of our farthermost peerings into the mist-margined expanse of science. Blood pressure, for instance, is classically arrayed as a continuum of mercury. The etching of a threshold for treatworthy hypertension is merely notional when given the polyfaceted basis of modern medicine. One might envision among a semi-circle of irascible experts their dissent over half-millimetres of mercury : that is the way of modernity, of its restless vogues, and of what has increasingly matured into scientific pluralism. Aside from a sculpting of definitions, the cheerier pragmatic is that oblongs for hypertension, noisily milled in a factory, have extended countless lifespans over the last half-century.

Modern medicine, the spine of their musings and meditations, has not been described by the authors from a temporal viewpoint. Premodern medicine, the age of potions and apothecaries, crystallises in the space of the popular imagination as a great morass of purulence. Penicillin can therefore be chosen as the first marvel of modern medicine, bloodstreaming into wounds with a primacy that reaches back to the dinosaurial millennia.

Beyond the brave world of modernity, this century is the crestfallen eon of postmodernism, a denser tapestry patterned with longer lifespan, expansile population, and everywhere the centrifugal ripples of urbanization. The constancy and universality of media also imperil health insofar as triggering digital deliriums. Mazes of misconception and misinformation incur conflict at psycho-socio-politico levels. A tangle of psychical processes underlie the curious individual and subgroup perceptions which are generated during the human-internet experience. Inside such a mass interconnection of minds - as never before in world history - one may well yearn for rustic premodernity and the peaceable shadows of a magnificent oak. Not for nothing has health and its care become a preoccupation when given the journey from languid premodernity to frenetic postmodernity over a mere hundred years.

Against such a backcloth of psychosocial profundity and burgeoning technoscapes, the palliative forms of healthcare have advanced rather than receded as the maniere de faire. The authors are underwhelmed by the inability of medicine to cure, but to palliate is to assuage suffering, the original premise of the caring vocations. Palliation, which outsizes the boxes of quantification, is the timelessly humanistic transaction of healthcare. In juxtaposition, the gaining of a cure is the scintillating triumph of science and skill. Yoking bygones to the far pavilions of the future, premodern humanism - in a postmodern age - remains the certain achievement of all those who provide care.

 
 :: References Top

1.Kothari M, Mehta L. Scope and limitations of therapies: A neomillennial epistemological evaluation for helping medical practices. J Postgrad Med 2012;58:309-13.  Back to cited text no. 1
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Kothari, M. and Mehta, L.
Journal of Postgraduate Medicine. 2013; 59(2): 168-169
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